|Robert Howard Staples was born in Castor, Louisiana on April 23, 1897, the son of A. D. Staples and Emma William McLnnis. He died on April 26, 1973 in the Highland Hospital in Shreveport after a short illness.
Brother Staples began his ministry while he was still teaching in 1927. He was recommended by the District Conference of the Minden District, and was first admitted on trial in 1927, coming into full connection in 1929, ordained deacon the same year and elder in 1931. He attended Louisiana State University and Southern Methodist University.
Brother Staples’ first pastorate was the Winnfield circuit composed of Atlanta, Joyce and Sanders Chapel, where he served one year. His other pastorates include the following--Choudrant, 1928; Marion, 1929 to 1931; Trout-Good Pine, 1932; Coushatta, 1933 to 1938; New Iberia, 1938 to 1946; West Monroe, 1946 to 1953; Bastrop, 1953 to 1957; Winnfield First Church, 1956 to 1963. He retired at that time and moved to his home in Castor where he served as a retired supply pastor from 1963 until August 1972. On September 1, 1972 he and Mrs. Staples built a home and moved to Winnfield where he was placed on the Winnfield Church staff as a visiting minister to the elderly. His total ministry covered a period of forty-six fruitful years.
Brother Staples served on many boards, commissions and committees in the Louisiana Annual Conference. He was one of the assistants to the statistical secretary from 1940-1944, chairman of the Bible Board from 1934 to 1938. He was on the Louisiana Conference Committee of Investigation from 1940 to 1961, serving as chairman of this committee from 1941 to 1942, and again from 1951 to 1961, when he resigned from the committee. Perhaps his greatest joy was serving the Conference Committee on Evangelism from 1939 to 1951, serving as Louisiana Conference Secretary on Evangelism from 1946 to 1951.
He was married to Sally Martin from Evergreen, Webster Parish, in 1918. To this union was born one daughter, now Mrs. Myrna Staples Rickerson of Alexandria, Louisiana, who survives him. Mrs. Staples passed away in April of 1927. His second marriage was to Meddie Tucker of Mississippi, on May 27, 1928. She died in West Monroe, Louisiana, on April 24, 1952.
On May 29, 1953 he was wed to Myrtle Turner from New Iberia, who now survives him and is living at the present time in Winnfield.
The following tribute made by a friend of Brother Staples expresses our true feelings--”The Reverend R. H. Staples who passed away April 26, at the age of 76, measured up to my idea of a true man of God. His sincerity, humility, and dedication were tempered with a seasoning of humor and mirth. If ever a preacher fitted his calling, Reverend Staples did, for he lived a Christian life and shared it with others.”
Prior to the time of his death, Reverend Staples was writing a book about his life and experiences as a Methodist preacher. The first chapter of the book had been completed. In this chapter Brother Staples relates how that in his youthful days he would often lose himself in happy meditation while sitting with his feet resting in the cool waters that flowed from the old spring which never ceased to flow in a clear branch that rippled across the pebbly path which it pursued toward larger streams, finally making its passage to the sea. Such meditation always led to thoughts of God whose wisdom and love had created a wonderful world and had given it to man for his blessing and joy.
As he related his experience, he drew a parable from life, saying—“Sometimes trash, such as pine needles from nearby trees, would hinder the free flowing water, and it was a privilege to remove the obstructions and watch the water come clear and flow freely again. To the young dreamer this became a parable of life. For life pure and clean becomes polluted and loses its sparkling beauty it was designed to have. It becomes stagnant and unwholesome because impurities of thought and deed have come into it.” “As the hand of the little boy could remove hindrances to the free flow of the water, even the Lord Jesus reaches into our hearts and removes the cause of the contamination of life and restores clear, fresh, flowing of love through the human. mind and beast.” Finally, he emphasizes the importance of man needing God, an experience he described as “a moral certainty, a spiritual reality.”
In the first chapter of his memoirs Reverend Staples preached a magnificent sermon typical of the hundreds he preached during his fruitful life. We regret that he did not live to write the entire book about his life. Nevertheless, we do thank God that Reverend Staples did a more magnificent thing. He lived to its fullest every chapter of an abundant life in service to almighty God.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1973; p. 130 By Fred S. Flurry|